“Find A Pox Party In Your Area” reads the Facebook post. That’s right: Parents fearful of vaccinations are making deals with a total stranger who promises to mail them lollipops licked by children with chickenpox.
One of the Facebook postings from Wendy Werkit of Nashville, Tennessee, offered a ‘fresh batch of pox in Nashville shipping of suckers, spit and Q-tips available tomorrow 50 dollars via PayPal.’
Why Chickenpox Lollipops?
Some parents are wary of vaccinations, believing that these routine immunizations will lead to autism, or other health problems.
As parents fret, vaccination rates for kids have dipped. Childhood vaccination rates against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), for instance, fell almost 3 percentage points to 90.6 percent in 2009 from the year before, according to data from private insurers.
During the first half of August, we asked people across the country for their views on vaccines in the latest NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll.
Autism remains a top worry, with 21 percent of respondents saying they believe autism is linked to vaccines. About 7 percent believe in a link between vaccines and diabetes.
The evidence doesn’t support either of those views. The chair of an independent panel that reviewed vaccine safety and issued a clean bill of health in late August said at the time:
“The MMR vaccine does not cause autism. The MMR and the DTaP do not cause Type 1 diabetes. And the killed flu vaccine does not cause Bell’s palsy, and it does not trigger episodes of asthma.”
Three Reasons To Say No To Online Chickenpox
1. It is unlikely to work. As The Daily Mail reports, Isaac Thomsen, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, said it’s unlikely the items will succeed in giving other children chickenpox. He pointed out that although it’s theoretically possible, it’s unlikely to work, since the chickenpox virus typically has to be inhaled.
2. Even if it did work, your child might be the one who gets complications. Instead of the mild rash, he could wind up hospitalized. She could also expose other, unvaccinated people to the virus, and that could result in life-threatening problems.
3. It’s illegal. It is a federal crime to send diseases or viruses across state lines, whether through the U.S. Postal Service or private services like FedEx or UPS. Remember anthrax?
As a mother, I am floored as to why any parent would consider not vaccinating their child against chickenpox, much less handing her a chickenpox lollipop. Is it time to have mandatory parenting classes for all pregnant couples?
Photo Credit: GLYNDWR2